Shock and sadness has swept through Bovingdon after eight-year-old school pupil Zara Witherall died last week.
Zara, a Year 3 pupil at Bovingdon Primary Academy, was taken ill at school on Wednesday afternoon.
She was rushed to Great Ormond Street Hospital but passed away shortly afterwards.
“There are no words to describe how I’m feeling – I’m brokenhearted,” Zara’s mother Rachel said.
“I’m overwhelmed with the love and support that’s been shown for our beautiful daughter Zara to myself, Mark, Nana, Grandad and family.
“Thanks to everyone for their continuing support at this very sad time.”
School principal, Shereen Breslin, described Zara as a “wonderful” pupil and said that children and staff have attended a special assembly, followed by the chance to openly talk about what happened within their class.
She added: “We will continue to do everything possible to support the children and staff.
“Zara was a bright, bubbly child with a beautiful smile. She will be hugely missed by us all.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Zara’s family and friends at this incredibly difficult time.”
Bovingdon Football Club paid their own respects with a minute’s silence ahead of their match with Letchworth Garden City Eagles on Saturday.
The club tweeted: “On behalf of everyone at Bovingdon Football Club, our thoughts are with Rachel, Mark and all the family at this tragic time. RIP”
At the time of going to press, more than 290 people have donated a combined £7,410 online to go towards Zara’s funeral.
Add to that total at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/kayleigh-howard-870
The funeral takes place on January 27 at St Lawrence Church in Bovingdon from noon.
Mourners are requested to wear a blue item and donations are welcome to Great Ormond Street Hospital.